Message from the President December 2022

Meet Me in………Brookfield??

Dear lovely ICGA members, I hope this issue of the Pump (which is much later than we normally send it, more on that in a minute) finds you warm, happy, ready for the Holidays, and thinking about how you are going to have a marvelous time at next year’s ICGA annual convention. We have a fantastic collection at auction in Bob and Sherry Cyza’s meticulously curated choices of color and pattern, and I cannot wait! We also have a fun new way of doing this next year’s display room that will be energetic and will maximize both the fun and the information about the glass, as well as give you a “tapas” approach to carnival glass knowledge sharing. Plus so many other surprises for you yet to be announced.

But about those surprises, the first one will be that it won’t be happening in St. Louis, as we had previously announced? Why? That’s kind of a long answer, but here goes.

Since the COVID pandemic came to mostly an end (we hope), an interesting thing happened across the country (and indeed the world itself). Apparently when you force people to stay at home and not go anywhere for a few years, they really want to get out and travel when they finally can. And across our country, the travel boom is at an all time high. And as everyone knows, that peaks in the summer months. And so, lots of people are staying in hotels, increasing the prices while also lowering the availability of rooms. This hits us especially as a convention that usually takes place in the middle of July in the Midwest, which is always very busy that time of the year, but so much more so in this current “after Covid” time.

But add to that an additional complication: staff shortages. As you recall (either from attending this past year’s convention or by reading our reviews of it), there are a lot of hotels out there working on skeleton crews. One of those was the hotel this past year and it was far from optimum. Many hotels are running with nowhere near enough employees to do all the things hotels need on a daily basis: clean rooms, man the front desk, take care of the building itself with HVAC and other issues, as well as for things like the restaurants, catering, bars, and more. Without those people, several hotels are very hesitant to book a convention like ours because at the end of the day, they may not have the staff to handle it. In St. Louis this year (an area hit very hard with staff shortages), one person cooked and served all of our banquet food, then also bussed it from the tables and washed it back in the dishwashers. Our meeting rooms were setup by the Director of Sales and one other person. It’s not maintainable as a business to operate in this manner for any period of time. Another example of a hotel facing these issues is the Embassy Suites in Kansas City where the HOACGA convention is held every year. They have even closed down multiple floors in their hotel just to be able to maintain what they can.

So put all those issues together and that’s what we were facing. Half of the hotels were unavailable because they didn’t have the staff, and the other half were super full and the few with space were wanting 3X the amount of money than we have ever paid before. It wasn’t worth it, so we started looking elsewhere. We looked at the aforementioned Kansas City Embassy Suites, but they wanted us to hold the convention in the winter months when they hoped they would have more staff. We looked all around St. Louis and the few hotels who had the space and the staff wanted $289 or more a night for your hotel rooms, plus we had to spend another $5,000 or more to have a meeting room, and then we had to spend $20,000 for food on top of that. It wasn’t a feasible solution.

But we continued on and we were able to find the perfect hotel for us in the month of July. And so, we will be at the Brookfield, Wisconsin Embassy Suites, which has hosted the past two Lincoln Land conventions. Our dates are now July 5th – 8th, and the hotel provides many of the freebies you love from an Embassy Suites: free breakfast and a free manager’s reception every night. We are currently working to get the reservation information finished and that will be posted on our website, our Facebook page, and emailed out once it is ready So even though the Great Hotel Apocalypse rages on, we are going to have a wonderful convention in July and I can’t wait to see all of you there!

Have a wonderful Christmas season!!!!